Country folk legend John Prine, one of the most revered songwriters of the last half-century, has passed away after contracting the coronavirus. He was 73.
Prine’s family said that the celebrated singer-songwriter had been hospitalized following a “sudden onset of COVID-19 symptoms,” after Prine’s wife and manager, Fiona Whelan Prine, was also diagnosed with the coronavirus.
After being discovered by Kris Kristofferson, Prine’s 1971 debut self-titled album garnered him a GRAMMY nomination for Best New Artist.
Prine’s signature approach to songwriting incorporated his singular humour of ordinary life but didn’t shy away from serious topics. Over the course of his career, songs have been recorded by many artists including Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Cash, Bette Midler, The Everly Brothers, and Kristofferson.
He founded Oh Boy records in 1984 and released his GRAMMY award-winning album, The Missing Years, in 1992, featuring guest artists Bruce Springsteen, Raitt and Tom Petty. Despite ongoing health issues, including multiple battles with cancer, John Prine released his highest Billboard-charting album of all time in 2018 with The Tree of Forgiveness, followed by his induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and one of the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Awards in 2020.
Last week, Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale assembled a special “Get Well Card” episode of their weekly “Buddy & Jim Show” for John Prine. The two-hour episode featured classic John Prine covers, as well as personal “Get Well” messages and new home recordings of Prine songs from a who-who of the Americana world, including Buddy & Julie Miller, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Shawn Colvin, Lee Ann Womack, Mary Gauthier, The War & Treaty, Aaron Lee Tasjan and more.